Deadline looms for homeless tent city in Bucks Co., Pa.
BRISTOL, Pa. - April 30, 2012 (WPVI) -- With a May 7th deadline approaching, residents of the homeless encampment behind Lower Bucks Hospital suspect this time it's for real.
For months they've been asked to vacate their tent city in the woods but nothing happened. Now there's a dumpster sitting nearby and the property owner is ready to bulldoze the camp to make way for construction of a warehouse.
"It's over," one tent city resident, Jim, told Action News. "Disappointing. I mean this is a place to stay. It's a home, really, for a lot of people."
The deadline was to be tomorrow, but Monday afternoon the owners, JRZ, LLC in Bristol, decided to extend it one more week. Then work begins.
"Tree cutting equipment is coming in and bulldozers and whatever needs to get thrown in a dumpster they will," said Bristol Borough Police Chief Arnold Porter. "Whatever they need to level they will."
"I have no place to go," said Phil DiNardo.
DiNardo, also known as Papa Bear, is the unofficial mayor of the garbage-covered tent city where over a dozen people, mostly men, live in tarp-covered tents. Some of them have been here for years.
"I don't know what's going to happen," said DiNardo. "I can't live out here much longer with my bronchial asthma."
Various religious organizations like Yardley-based "The Way Home" are trying to place small groups of tent city residents in rental houses.
"We're going to be both monitoring and mentoring those individuals once they are in the house to begin to save money and set money aside so eventually they can go out and become independent on their own," said "The Way Home"'s Clyde Beury.
The homeless who stay here will miss their tent community.
"For me it's been a Godsend and if I had to move on, I got to move on," said resident John Haacke.
"Now with the week extension come on we can actually get our stuff out without them bulldozing it over," said resident William Yates.
Hopefully in the next week the tent city residents can finally be relocated, because the police chief says this deadline to get them off the property will not be extended.
pennsylvania, homeless, bucks county, local/state, nora muchanic
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